For viewers of Netflix series Baby Reindeer, the ruthless pursuit of a stalker for her victim made mesmerising viewing.

Amid hundreds of emails, wild claims, sudden and sometimes violent confrontations was an apparent lack of anyone doing much to stop it and the helplessness of her target.

The seven-part drama, based around the alleged real-life experiences of writer Paul Gadd, made jaw-dropping viewing.

It also left many wondering why things could possibly have been allowed to get so bad.

But for Borders councillor Aileen Orr, the drama’s shocking stalking storyline had a very familiar ring.

(Image: free)

“He tried to destroy my life,” she says of the businessman who plagued her and others with hundreds of nasty and hateful emails, turned up randomly at her rural home and frightened her.

“I still live with fear every day,” she continues, “and that’s not acceptable.”

She was tormented by 76-year-old Martin Frost flagging up concerns over his green scheme, backed by hundreds of shareholders and which claimed to have found a way to turn cow dung into fuel.

His firm, Avocet, had amassed millions of pounds of support from supporters who believed he had found a way to commercialise a carbon-neutral fuel from biomass.

But having expressed concerns over the business and its funds, Aileen became the target of a relentless email campaign: many of the messages sent to hundreds of shareholders contained vile comments, some of them sexual, and scurrilous allegations.

One, shockingly, even accused her of murder.

Increasingly worried for her own and her immediate family’s safety, while caring for her terminally ill husband and with police – some more sympathetic than others, she says – apparently powerless to intervene, she even began to question herself.

Was he right? Was she the problem?

“He told me I was mad,” she says. “He said I was evil in a way that was convincing, drip feeding it. And I started to think it…”

In February, Aileen sat in Jedburgh Sheriff Court and finally saw Martin Frost convicted of stalking her and another woman who had worked for his business.

He was also found guilty of threatening behaviour towards Aileen’s son, Alexander.

It brought to a head a five-day trial in which Frost represented himself, became emotional and broke down, claimed to be ill and had to be warned by the Sheriff over his string of irrelevant and rambling questions.

In court, Aileen listened to his disturbing claims: “He said terrible things about me, that my husband hated me, that he was looking for a divorce.

“I could feel Anne’s hand on my back, letting me know she was there.”

Anne – a Victim Support Scotland volunteer – was the extra player in a long and winding drama that had taken several twists and seemed doomed to just go on forever until finally ending with Frost’s conviction for stalking and breach of the peace, a fine of £2,575 and order not to make contact with his victims for five years.

Remarkably, although Aileen can trace the roots of her run-in with Frost as far back as 2016 it had taken her four years to finally find the support she craved, and a further four years for her case to reach a conclusion.

“I had started to ask questions about the business in 2016 and can see now that it was a classic case of narcissism,” she recalls. “At first I was wonderful, then there were insults, trying to isolate me from my family, putting my family against me.”

As the emails circulated, Aileen contacted police near her Borders home. A policeman’s daughter, she hoped for support but instead was told it was a civil matter – there was nothing police could do.

Disturbing episodes occurred, she claims, when Frost appeared at her farmhouse home uninvited but with no witnesses to back up her allegations, police were powerless to act.

“One day I stopped in Galashiels and saw the Victim Support Scotland office,” she recalls. “I thought ‘this is madness I know about Victim Support why am I not talking to them?’

“I parked up and walked in. Two members of staff sat with mouths open asking why it took so long for me to go there.

“But when you’re in a situation of high stress, you can deal with everyone else’s problems. It’s dealing with you own situation that is the most difficult.”

It set off a sequence of events leading to the support she craved as well as action that helped build the case against her stalker.

“They said, ‘what is the most important thing for you?’ and I said I couldn’t get him to stop coming to my house.

“The first thing they organised was cameras. The moment they went up, I stopped being isolated.”

Arrangements for security cameras were made via the Victim Support Scotland Emergency Assistance Fund. Intended to help people affected by crime in urgent need of financial help, last year it provided almost £500,000 to more than 1740 people in crisis.

Footage from the cameras was played in court, helping to secure Frost’s conviction.

But it was the non-judgmental care from her assigned supporter that proved invaluable.

“It was like someone had given me a walking stick, it was a support system that was very real,” adds Aileen.

“I felt I had people on my side. And when the cameras went up, it seemed that Police Scotland were ready to take it seriously.”

Aileen had been left frustrated in her dealings with police and, in some cases, little empathy shown by some for her plight.

“It seemed every time I contacted the police, it would be another set of police officers and I had to tell the whole story again.

“I met several police officers who were brilliant, others looked at me like I was mad.

“I showed one police officer a cardboard cutout of a scaffold for hanging people that I’d been sent.

“He said ‘have you come all the way out here to show me this?’. I said I found it really threatening. He said, ‘for God’s sake’.”

At one point she says was told to share disturbing emails with a particular police department, only to last receive a curt response from them informing her ‘this is not a post box’.

“It made me feel really small, like I was exaggerating and wasting their time,” she adds.

Frost denied offences relating to repeatedly sending emails containing insulting, derogatory and sexual comments to Aileen and other shareholders of Avocet National Capital Ltd, of stalking her and another woman and threatening Aileen’s son, Alexander Orr.

As the trial approached, Aileen says having Anne, her Victim Support Scotland counsellor, by her side was crucial.

“She completely supported me, talked through what to do in court, how to present myself and allayed any fears about the process.

“In court, every now and again she let me know she was there.”

Last year Victim Support Scotland’s staff and volunteers – ranging in age from 20 to 83 - provided almost 40,000 support sessions to people affected by crime.

It dealt with more than 17,000 calls to its helpline and carried out almost 3,800 webchat support conversations, supporting victims, families, friends and witnesses of crimes ranging from the most traumatic to more minor.

Alongside free, independent and confidential support – even if a crime has not been reported to police - it provides guidance on how to navigate the criminal justice system in Scotland and signposts to other support services.

Sara Gray, VSS locality manager for Edinburgh, Lothian and Borders, says: “We see stalking cases of various degrees; they can be like Aileen’s experience when someone has whistle-blown and gone on to be harassed, to domestic abuse cases, when someone has left that situation, and the stalking elements begin as the person tries to get control back.

“Stalking might come from anti-social behaviour through neighbours’ disputes, and social media where people have access to other people’s lives so easily.

Sara Gray of Victim Support ScotlandSara Gray of Victim Support Scotland (Image: Contributed)

“While Aileen’s case had a positive outcome, there will be others who go through the criminal justice system and don’t get the outcome they want or expected, and there will be cases who continue to need support.”

Now free from being stalked, Borders Council SNP councillor Aileen says she is “evangelical” about the support she received: “Women get so scared in that kind of situation. You don’t know how much more you will have to take and you don’t think particularly clearly.

“I was constantly thinking of ways to escape it but with my husband’s condition, I couldn’t run away and I couldn’t escape. I was his protector and my son’s protector, but no-one was protecting me.

“You need a person to speak to who isn’t a relation, who is away from the situation and looking at it in a totally objective way.”

A Police Scotland spokesperson said: “Stalking takes many forms, but the behaviours are always the same. Stalkers might be fixated on and obsessive about another person and their behaviours towards them unwanted and repetitive. Stalking is about causing fear and distress.

"Tackling stalking and harassment is a priority for Police Scotland and we are committed to working with our partners to increase our awareness of the crime and reduce the harm it causes.

"We know we don’t always get it right, but we are listening and we are committed to continually improving the service we provide through training in order to bring perpetrators to justice.”